Things With Pages

Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub

Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub Cover Book Review 2017Still Star-Crossed has been on my TBR since the year it released, but for some reason, I never got around to reading it (which is actually really weird because you don’t even know how hyped up I was for Benvolio and Rosaline’s hate-to-love romance). When I heard about the tv show coming out, I again meant to pick up the book and give it a go before the pilot aired, but again, for whatever reason, I never got around to it. Now, we’re five episodes into the show and I am absolutely in love, despite knowing that this first season will be its last. I didn’t have the patience to wait for the next episode, and so I picked up the book, hoping for a fix. Having finished the novel, I did get a fix, although not in the way I was hoping for.

While I was watching the show, I watched it very innocently. I didn’t pay any mind to the flaws in the show, and simply focused on everything I loved about it. I ignored the rather shallow hate-to-love setup and instead enjoyed the chemistry and good looks shared between Benvolio and Rosaline. Unfortunately, take away that chemistry and charm, and what you get is the book version of the romance. It’s exactly the same thing, but without those factors, it’s really hard to appreciate the romance. Similarly, reading the book brought to my attention the fact that Still Star-Crossed really isn’t the greatest story in the world. The character building is for naught, the plot itself is rather simple, and the romance – oh, the romance! – it’s quite dull and beyond predictable.

I feel that the story works better in the show format because there are so many other points of views added; the show adds depth where the book didn’t have any. There were only very small, obvious changes between the show and the book, but those changes open up possibilities to add another storyline, or to insert another conflict. For example, Isabella, the prince’s sister, has a much greater role in the show, and because of this, not only does her character become more fleshed out, but her conflicts with other characters bring more to the story. Show writers must always think on a larger scale – they must ask new questions in order to extend a single book into multiple seasons. In this case, those questions make the entirety of Still Star-Crossed more interesting than its original book form. But that’s just me.

If you’ve never heard of the Still Star-Crossed, it takes place after Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, in the same world, and with many of the same characters. Granted, I have yet to read that classic play, but even I know the basics. Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet have just committed suicide shortly after their secret wedding, and Verona is a mess, with the Capulets and the Montagues killing each other in the streets this way and that. Benvolio Montague is cousin to Romeo, and Rosaline is friend to Juliet. They are most certainly not fond of each other, and yet the Prince of Verona orders them to marry in an attempt to call a ceasefire between the two houses – neither child is happy about this.

At the same time, it seems that there may be more to these murders than meets the eye, and Rosaline and Benvolio decide to solve the mystery in an attempt to find the culprit(s) and thereby void the reason for their marriage. An interesting enough plot, with lots of lovey-dovey, angsty potential between the two main characters, yes?

Sadly, no. The dialogue in the novel is similar to that used by Shakespeare, and it turns out the romance is just the same. While there is certainly kissing, the romance is bland and flat – much like Coke without the carbonation. Honestly, the romance in the show is exactly the same, but it’s easier to get into because, again, the actor and actress playing the main characters bring charm and chemistry. I hate to say this, but now that I’ve read the book, it’s clearer to me why the show will not be continuing into a second season.

I gave this book 3 stars (★★★). I began the book hoping that it would ease my wait for the next episode in the show, but instead, it has completely killed my excitement. Thanks, book.😐



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